We Are About Relationships
Isn’t summer supposed to be slow? Aren’t things supposed to move at a more relaxed pace in June and July? Apparently not. I came back from the beach two weeks ago to find life moving at a rapid clip, and I’ve had a little trouble catching up. But now that I’m finally breathing normally, I thought I’d share with you some of the things that have happened in recent days as well as what’s coming up. At least on my calendar.
Just a few days after returning home, we plunged into Annual Conference, our annual United Methodist gathering here in Middle Tennessee. The United Methodist churches in middle Tennessee sent 648 lay people and 648 pastors to this gathering, and I must say it was the most inspiring Annual Conference I’ve attended in years. Next week’s newsletter article, written by one of our delegates, will tell you in more detail about what we experienced there, but I came away feeling excited about what God is doing and will do through The United Methodist Church!
The next big event on my calendar is the mission trip to Uganda. (Normally, it would be Vacation Bible School, which starts on Sunday night, but our mission team leaves on Wednesday and we’ll miss the last half of VBS.) As you know, we are taking a large group from both Christ UMC and Blakemore UMC, but many of you have been asking, “What exactly are y’all going to be doing while you’re there?” Well, I’ll tell you…
We’ll be going to two rural villages outside of Kampala. Raise the Roof has a school in one village, and we’ll spend much of our time at that site in four different groups. One group will set up a medical clinic while another group will work on construction of classrooms at the school. A third group will run a Vacation Bible School for children (we’re expecting over 1,000 kids!), and a fourth group will meet with adults (pastors, teachers, politicians, community leaders) for conversation, training and empowerment.
One of the things I’m excited about is a youth rally that some of us will be hosting on Friday, June 28. While most members of the team will be resting and adjusting to the time-change, a few of us will gather with a large group of teens and young adults in Kampala. Chip Higgins is going to do some teaching around leadership, and I’m going to remind them that they are loved, they matter and they can make a difference. I have no idea how many youth will show up to this rally, but David Ssebulime has told us to be prepared for a crowd.
During our stay in Uganda we will be tending and building and teaching, but above all we will be building relationships. We go in the love of Christ to meet Christ in the people of Uganda. We go to love and be loved. To serve and be served. To share our stories and to hear their stories. We will worship in ways we’ve never experienced before. We will eat good food and get lots of hugs. And we will let our brothers and sisters know that we love them and we care about them.
Our team departs on Wednesday morning, June 26. We ask you to pray for us and for the people whom we’ll meet in Uganda. May we all experience the love and power of God in this holy encounter. And may we come home ready to love and serve in deeper ways than ever before.